Miyavi

MYV Pops

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Myv Pops was labeled as Miyavi's acoustic experiment, and, sure enough, its creator lived up to his word, centering every song around acoustic guitar and displaying formidable skills with the instrument in the process. However, the album also happens to have virtually nothing to do with the traditional "rock artist goes unplugged" type of thing in the vein of Nirvana's famed MTV Unplugged in New York performance. If anything, Myv Pops is reminiscent of Days of the New -- the band that specializes in grunge rock, but replaces the electric guitar with an acoustic one. Miyavi did just that, only instead of grunge he had J-rock, which, in his case amounts to a particularly flamboyant and varied collection of songs including arena rock, blues, rockabilly, tango, and J-rock proper (think Glay or Bump of Chicken). This ragtag bunch of influences is firmly held together by, first, Miyavi's rough but strong voice, and second, the crisp production that sounds impeccable enough to belong to an idealized anime universe rather than the real world. Miyavi's compositional skills also leave little to be desired, and so -- on the whole -- the experiment is a definite success. However, while Myv Pops excels in songwriting, it's pretty weird from a stylistic standpoint: more often than not, the guitar playing -- supposedly the focal point of the music -- is obscured by rich rock arrangements to the point that it could be replaced by a didgeridoo and not change a thing. Some songs, like the huge and bouncy opener or "Gigpig Boogie," would obviously have sounded more natural if Miyavi just gave it up and used electric guitar -- as he actually does in "Kimi Ni Negai Wo." There are places where the acoustic sound is quite prominent, but on the whole, it's better to not place a lot of importance on the whole "experiment" thing and simply enjoy this nice J-rock ride instead.

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